The world was taken by storm earlier this year thanks to Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa, better known as Black Panther, in Captain America: Civil War. Boseman was one of the standout characters in the ensemble and made viewers excited for what is to come next. Black Panther will give audiences their next chance to see the hero and king of Wakanda and his technologically advanced nation. Marvel Studios has tapped Ryan Coogler to both direct and co-write the film, which will feature a predominantly African-American cast.
The cast has already added Michael B. Jordan as the lead villain, with Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira also joining as members of the Black Panther’s all female bodyguard team. Now, it appears as if one more threat to Black Panther will be shown in the movie, with M’Baku being cast.
Variety is reporting that Winston Duke, best known for his role in Person of Interest, has been cast in the villainous role of M’Baku. The character is heavily involved in Black Panther’s first reign of the country and questions the leadership of T’Challa. While it is not out of the ordinary for Marvel to include comic characters, it is surprising that a character that also goes by the name of Man-Ape will be making an appearance on the big screen.
It is unlikely that M’Baku will be a major factor in the movie, but they could certainly take inspirations from the comics and have him challenge the new king early on in the movie. That said, Marvel Studios could once again be going against fan speculation and the powerful character of M’Baku is actually the second villain. There is so far no word on whether or not Andy Serkis is returning as Ulysses Klaue, but it seemed like a certainty given the supposed two villain story that Nyong’o revealed.
If Klaue is not actually set to make an appearance, or at least a major one at that, then M’Baku could potentially be taking up a bigger role. An alliance between M’Baku and Killmonger for the throne would seem to make sense, but the casting of Duke himself could indicate otherwise. This will be his first feature film and having him as the second villain playing opposite of Jordan and Boseman is a tall task for anyone, let alone a relative newcomer as Duke.
This is not to say that he could not pull it off given Marvel’s track record of bringing in new talent and having it work out for the best, but it is something to consider early on. While some people may focus more on M’Baku’s other name of Man-Ape, it would be a surprise if he was ever referred to as this in the movie. Marvel knows how important this movie is for not just Black superheroes, but also having a big budget film featuring a cast that will be 90 percent African-American. They are not likely to try anything that could come across as offensive to the audience, so this is not something to be worried about at this point.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.